The clock ticked to 8:30 PM and my mind fogged over under the weight of sleeplessness. Son sat on the floor checking his stability with one hand while trying to read the board book with the other. Daughter was practicing the art of procrastination.

Teeth time.

I need more toothpaste, as she sucked the dollop off that had already been provided.

Diaper time.

Let’s do it over here, as she lays down out of arms reach and looks up with an impish grin.

Story time.

I want to sit on your lap. Let’s lay on our tummies. I want to sit in the rocking chair. 

Did I have the strength to face prayers? Thoughts were incomplete, brain misfiring, bed my utter temptation. Next to me Son began to whimper with fatigue. My actions deceived my devoutness as I consciously did not mention it.

Prayers! yelped the sharp two-year-old mind, knowing she was about to be swooped up.

I’m so tired and it’s late. Let’s skip tonight. She conceded and hugged her monkey tight as I wrapped her in her blanket and laid her in the crib. Son followed without complaint. The guilt of denying my child her prayers seeped under my skin as I walked down the hallway and sank into my sheets.

The next morning Husband was kind enough to get the children up. As I tied my robe and blindly stepped down the stairs I heard an echo down the hall of unsolicited reporting,

Momma said it was too late last night so we didn’t do prayers.


Picking Up (aka 20 minutes of my life I will never get back)


Look around house and decide tidying up is a good idea.

Pick up sandwich baggie from under the table and put in kitchen.

Take dishes left on the dining table from breakfast and lunch to the kitchen.

Pick up silicone cupcake liner that Winnie-the-Pooh was using for a snack and put in kitchen sink.

Pick up another silicone cupcake liner from son’s mouth and place in kitchen sink.

Spend five minutes doing dishes as quickly as possible so I can move to the next task.

Slip on animal magnet as I turn around to walk out of the kitchen.

Pick up said animal magnet and three others before I break my neck falling on one.

Pick up daughter’s jacket and put on hook in entry way.

Move children’s chair from entry way to proper location.

Move children’s table from precarious place in walkway where I will knock my shin into it and put in proper location.

Pick up wipes case and put in purse.

Pick up my own running shoes and place in entry closet.

Put my own running socks and long sleeve shirt on stairs as a reminder to take up next time I go.

Pick up daughter’s monkey sandals and put in entry closet.

Move children’s chair from behind the couch to proper location.

Put crayons that have had all the paper peeled off them into their container.

Put paper peelings into the trash.

Pick up three pillows from the rug that have been pulled off to use as a trampoline and replace onto couch.

Pick up silicone cupcake liner from family room rug and place in kitchen sink.

Look at the rest of the toys on the floor, consider picking them up but decide to leave them.

Glance outside and notice there are toys on the lawn.

Pick up pool toys that weren’t used for the pool but were pulled out just to play with.

Pick up toy car, silicone cupcake liner, and plastic fish from lawn and bring inside.

Look around and think, “that looks much better,” when there are still things everywhere.

Collapse onto couch with intentions of getting up in a few minutes to actually do something productive.

Stay on couch and close eyes for just a minute to relax.

Fall asleep thinking about the fact that I should get up and have a cup of coffee if I’m this tired.

…you would think I don’t have my toddler clean up anything…I really do!

You’re into the schedule thing, right?

As a parent, there are so many choices and decisions we have to make. From what to make for breakfast to deciding on a preschool, sometimes my brain feels like it’s swelling just keeping track of it all. At the same time, I love it. My husband and I have the privilege of giving our children the opportunities we want them to have. Key word we. You may have a different idea as to what’s best for your child. This is the beauty of it all, though. What good would this world be if we all made the same “correct” decision? It would be boring; that’s for sure.

During a conversation with another mom the other day I was discussing Simon’s 9 month check-up. I had commented that with Daddy and Daughter gone these past few days, Simon seemed to be sleeping better and was less cranky. My observation was that having a two-year-old running around probably wasn’t conducive to the 9-month-old being able to take two naps each day; but that’s life. We were discussing the challenges IMG_1051_2of this and the other mother stated, “Well, you’re into the schedule thing, right?” I was a little confused by the question and asked, “What do you mean?” Her answer, “You put your kids on a schedule for sleep, right?” Her tone was accusatory; at least that’s I how I interpreted it.

Maybe I’m sensitive about this but with all the challenges parents’ face, unless you are putting your child in harm’s way, I believe we all need to cut each other some slack. What is seen on the surface is only the beginning. Everyone has a story and a reason. I don’t doubt that I’ve unknowingly offended other mothers’ by asking questions and for that, I’m sorry. I do my best to never judge another parent on their parenting skills. I am not perfect; none of us are.

Let’s tap each other on the shoulder and instead of showing a critical eye, give a hug or a handshake. We’re all doing the best we know how. For any parent who has ever doubted themselves, see the ad below for a feel good moment.

Child Safety Story

I wanted to share this for any parents, grandparents, nannies or anyone else who takes care of little ones. It is just too terrible for words but this mother is trying to spread a message of prevention. If you can’t make it through the entire post please know that her message is about securing furniture to walls. Please check your house for anything that may be a risk.  My heart aches so deeply for this mother and her family.

The post.

Medical Intervention

Along with the highs of being a parent comes worry, guilt, and lots of lost sleep – the latter often a result of all the worry and guilt. Last spring Hannah woke up in such a lethargic state she could barely be aroused. Her eyes rolled back in her head as she tried to awaken and when I went to pick her up out of bed she lay limp in my arms. We hurried off to the emergency room which ended with a diagnosis of severe dehydration and acidosis. They recommended an overnight stay at the hospital to figure out the cause of her state.

“Kids get dehydrated,” said the ER doctor, “but this is extreme and I’m worried about an underlying cause.” Hannah hadn’t been sick and was eating and drinking normal prior. They asked about her medical history (this comes out much clearer now that I’ve processed it all): induction at 37 weeks due to stalled growth, very small at birth, grows slowly, has been either off or below 5th percentile on growth charts, eats unusually large portions. But she always hit the developmental milestones. Do all these seemingly benign things add up to a problem?


At the hospital, she perked up quickly with a little apple juice; okay, a lot of apple juice. So much so that her blood sugar raised to 285! Later we experienced some unfortunate drippy diapers as a result but that was the least of our worries. She was discharged from the hospital with recommendations to follow-up with her primary physician while we awaited the results of all the tests.

After returning home, she appeared to go back to her normal self. Weeks later, after her blood and urine tests came back “abnormal” again she was referred to a pediatric endocrinologist. After more blood and urine samples came back “abnormal” it was “highly recommended” that she receive human growth hormone stimulation testing. This test includes the placement of an IV, administration of mediation via the IV, a shot, and blood samples every 30 minutes for five hours.

Hannah appears to be a healthy kid. Her day-to-day behaviors do not demonstrate impairment. Derek and I are more in favor of as little intervention as necessary. This whole thing was snowballing.

Do I put my seemingly healthy two-year old through a five hour test? She seems fine. But what if…? What if there really is something wrong and it causes more problems down the road? The decision for us to proceed with testing was not taken lightly.


During all the waiting…

Hannah had continued episodes of waking up in this lethargic state. Nothing as drastic as the first but certainly out of the range of usual fatigue. When given a little juice she goes back to normal but I started to think there is a pattern of some sort. Time will tell.


8 months after her original episode…

Testing was finally completed. In the end I think it was more traumatic for me than her. She was a trooper and didn’t shed a tear, even for the shot. Now we await the results. I pray they tell us that she’s healthy and normal but in the event that there is a problem, we will not have regretted the decision for medical intervention.


1 week after testing…

A text from Derek: “Merry Early Christmas! Her test results came back normal!”


We are so relieved and will rest easy now that this is all over. Looking back, can I say it was all a lot of hype over nothing? No. Something was wrong and we won’t ever know why she ended up so dehydrated. But luckily we can go forward without further ado.

Starting Off Easy: Organization

Four months ago on 7/16/2012 I gave birth to my second child, a baby boy. Previous to his birth I joked that things would calm down in our lives once he was born and it’s proved to be true. Sounds crazy, right? This year has brought on some of the most difficult times in the 12 years I’ve been with my husband (six of those being married) and most of it had nothing to do with having a baby. I’m not quite ready to delve into those dark details yet but I will say that out of darkness comes light.

Since Simon’s birth, Derek and I have gone through multiple phases: 1) elatement and adrenaline rush of a new baby, 2) sleep deprivation kicking into full gear, followed by 3) frustration and adjustment to life with new baby.

Simon, 14 days

This has lead me to search for something tangible and concrete that I can control in order to better the situation. Organization was my answer. Organization has taken on many forms in my life but most recently I’ve needed something more structured. It has given me some direction in what can seem like endless days of meal preparation, changing diapers, and laundry.

So I’m sharing a “Weekly Planner” that I developed. It’s a Monday-Friday schedule:

1) Regularly scheduled events are already written in on the day of the week. You’ll notice that Tuesday says “Derek” and Wednesday “Ashley.” Each week Derek and I get a night to ourselves to do whatever we wish (see friends, read, exercise, etc-I can see I’ll be adding blogging to my list now) and the other takes care of the kids for the night. This has eased a lot of stress for us.

2) The column on the right lists items that I do every week but maybe not on the same day. I fill it in at the beginning of each week, as well as, add any scheduled appointments.

3) In case you’re wondering “SS” stand for Stroller Strides. I’m a member and highly recommend it for a great workout and socialization.

4) It’s old school in the sense that I actually print this out each week and fill it in longhand. I know, a lot to ask, but there’s nothing like the act of writing to make you think and help generate ideas.

Weekly Plan

(wasn’t sure how to get it to upload as opened so you can view it right away…tips?)

Without boring you too much more I think I’ll stop there. Please share your thoughts and any ideas you have that help you stay organized week to week. It’s always an evolving process and I’m always looking for ideas.